Last night Jason and I had friends over for a BBQ, some of which we see quite often, some of which we hadn't seen for ages. We had a blast. Good food, great people, wonderful weather and a big deck to share it all on. Neighbors dropped by to see what the hubbub was about, the tea lights flickered in the moonlight and the music wafted around the lot of us.
In particular, one couple, D&A, had just returned from the UK, after having worked overseas for two years. They are now 7 months pregnant and have decided to raise their baby here where they have lots of family. They are so happy, even when their life is a little upside-down - living out of suitcases and expecting a baby in months! They have always been a bit of a role model to me as to what a "happy couple" looks like.
I know them through my ex-boyfriend, K, and the last time I saw them, I was struggling to get through a really low point in my life. I was deeply in debt buying K out of our jointly-purchased condo, I was living with a suicidal roommate to make my mortgage payments, K was dating someone new after telling me he didn't have time for a girlfriend... it was awful.
My friends were really there for me. I remember sleeping on one friend's couch for a week while K and I were still in the final throes of breaking up. She gave me teddy bears to sleep with and we talked for hours between her work shifts. Another friend would meet me in Starbucks when I couldn't sit in front of my desk anymore, we would hide in the overstuffed chairs as I bawled my eyes out. I hid in the bathroom and cried at weddings, cried on my bike in to work, cried and cried until my eyes were puffy messes. It seems like such a long time ago.
A few months down the road, I met Jason. Our friendship really helped me see things differently and his experience really helped me put mine in perspective. I thought a lot about what was important to me. We found out that we had a lot of things in common and valued similar things in a relationship - honesty, a strong belief in and want of a family, being each other's biggest cheerleader, security... our list goes on and on. The development of our friendship to a love relationship has been so amazing and RIGHT. I've never been so sure of anything in my life, it was very easy to say YES!!! to his marriage proposal.
Last night really reaffirmed things in my head. I imagine I must have looked so different to D&A.
Even when things were still okay with K and I, I never had that level of comfort where I could just be me. I used to fade into the background, leaving the limelight to K. I used to keep my mouth shut, leaving the convo to K. And it wasn't necessarily anything that he said or did, it's just the way I was around him, or around any of my exes to that point. I was reigned in, and trapped inside.
At a dinner party I would hide in the kitchen for the most part and fuss around so I couldn't drop anything, or say something silly, or sound ignortant, or whatever.
Now I leave the dishes for later. I'm having too much fun loving life. Jason definitely brings out the best in me. His love and support makes me very confident and the security of our relationship puts me at ease. I can make mistakes and laugh at myself and not worry.
I didn't know it could be like this. What a difference someone can make.